China to establish at least 50 sets of AI standards by 2026

China aims to establish at least 50 sets of artificial intelligence (AI) standards by 2026, as per a new draft policy from Beijing. This initiative by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) is part of China’s effort to narrow the technological gap with the United States in AI development. The standards are expected to cover at least 1,000 Chinese technology companies. Additionally, China intends to participate in establishing at least 20 international AI standards.

This standardization initiative aligns with a China-led resolution in the United Nations, which advocates for a free, open, inclusive, and non-discriminatory business environment for AI development among wealthy and developing nations. This resolution was recently adopted unanimously in the UN General Assembly.

The MIIT’s draft policy adopts a pro-market, soft-law approach, focusing on enabling and promoting the development of the AI technology and its ecosystem. This approach is seen as beneficial to other industries and reflects China’s ambition to significantly integrate AI within its economy.

The draft policy identifies 12 critical technologies across the AI supply chain, including natural-language processing, computer vision, and machine learning. The Chinese AI industry chain consists of four layers: the foundation, framework, model, and applications, with the foundation layer including computing power, algorithms, and data required to train Large Language Models (LLMs).

Moreover, over a quarter of China’s 369 unicorns, or start-ups valued at more than US$1 billion, are involved in the nation’s artificial intelligence and semiconductor sectors. This suggests a strong emphasis and investment in these technology sectors by China.

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